Autumn is a time of year where I begin to shift my living space from a bright and light Summer home, to cosy warm nest with candle lighting. Certain words like maintaining, fostering and nurture spring to mind as we head into the darker months after Autumn Equinox.

I’ve been taking care to spruce and shine my home with selective products in order to be kind to the environment and also protect the energy in the home. I recently graduated to using Norfolk Natural Living skincare and home products; their Vegan botanical detergents are just so modern and practical that it makes cleaning a far more pleasurable experience rather than a tedious one. Bottled in Holt, Norfolk (one of my favourite places in England), they use plant-based technology to create products that are natural and safe for waterways. I am a big fan of their Scented Vinegar for cleaning work surfaces as it smells of a roses rather than a bitter ferment, and their mineral-rich Soothing Body Lotion. If more sustainable brands take over the mainstream, then I hope Norfolk Natural Living will pave the way.

I recently took a trip to Italy, where I was able to sip in the late Summer sun, swim in the sea, visit small villages and try local cuisine. All that walking around and beach time didn’t take its toll on my skin thanks to the chicest sun block I have ever used, Soleil Toujours Organic Set + Protect Micro Mist SPF 30. It gives a gorgeous soft and sheer finish, has a decadent Summer scent and even fit in my hand luggage liquid allowance on the plane. Rosalique 3 in 1 Anti-Redness Miracle Forumula has also been a great Summer travel ally. I don’t like using sun lotions or sprays on my face so it’s been great to use on days at the beach in Italy as it also contains SPF 25 and also acts as a primer.

I weaned myself off luxury designers’ perfumes some time ago as I have a real preference for simplicity when using scent. To me, there’s nothing simpler than applying a few drops of Frankincense or Jasmine essential oil to my wrists and collarbone. The bottle seems to last forever, which is a direct contrast to the amount of landfill wastage luxury street fashion brands contribute to. This piece on The Independent in 2018 further opened my eyes to what non-Vegan commercial brands are actually putting into their products; extracts of milk, honey, leather and animal musk (glands of endangered Indian and African wildcat, East Asian musk deer and North American and European beavers).

What I put on my skin is more important to me than ever. I once heard Melissa Palmer (CEO of unscented seaweed beauty brand OSEA Malibu) use an example of how effective skin patches for tobacco and contraception are on the skin to show how easily we absorb anything through our skin. It’s refreshing to see so many perfumes up-levelling their game when it comes to Vegan and natural ingredients, and this season I’m making a big focus to seek out these brands.

Lavender is one my favourite flowers in the herb garden, and I’ve been recently introduced to a wonderful Vegan-certified Le Couvent Des Minimes’ Cologne Botanique Intense in “Lavandula and Myrtus”. Le Couvent contains natural botanical essences, and has a light, airy scent that isn’t over empowering. There’s something so refreshing about leaving the gym and spritzing on a little of this French brand (complete with a beguiling glass bottle) and it’s long-lasting too.

For a more evening scent, I’ve been completely beguiled by Clean Reserve’s Solar Bloom eau de parfum which is ethically-sourced, sustainable, cruelty-free, Vegan, gluten-free, recyclable and non-toxic. It’s also Phthalate-free, a chemical that is linked to a whole list of health risks. There’s something so mindful about using a perfume that is so across the board good for the environment and skin. Plus, the smell is absolutely transporting and absolutely radiates with fresh notes of bergamot, green mandarin, freesia and more thanks to it’s farm-to-fragrance ingredients.

The change of the season months can be super drying; one minute I pull my heavy blanket on as the night turns cold, and the next moment I could be throwing the window on a surprisingly mild evening. I try and stay away from central heating, layering with blankets and jumpers, but here in London it often can’t be helped when things get super cold. Having returned from my trip, my skin is tanned and very dry, so I scoured around for some slightly heavier products to promote the elasticity of my skin such as oils, balms and butters. I have also been keeping my face glowing and bright with Lani’s Tropical Coconut Face Polish, a process that must have been carried out by goddesses at one time as it leaves my face ultra soft after cleansing and not to mention all the incredible attributes that Lani has… a female-owned, independently run, charity supporting brand that create natural, Vegan-friendly products that smell great with minimal waste packaging. There is nothing not to like about this brand. I often also place a nourishing Biocell Regenerating Face Mask whilst in the bath. After switching my mask habits to those containing hyaluronic acid like Biocell, my skin literally feels ten times more hydrated.

It’s been wonderful to find out about Live in the Light, a natural and organic lifestyle store full of some amazing home and beauty products such as Meta-PoraTin Feather, and their own brand of chemical-free candles. It’s also worth noting that they have exclusive UK access to products sourced from the USA and Canada. One product in particular that has been a post-Summer life-saver is Fat & The Moon’s Love Thyself Bod Oil. It smells like the beauty choice of the angels thanks to the super thick and luxurious oil with apricot kernel oil, joboba oil, rosehip seed oil, and vetiver and clove essential oils. You can really smell the rosehip in this one, and after slowly slathering it across my skin after my morning shower it really seems to carry a delicious scent throughout the day. For a lighter touch during the day, Fushi Rose and Jasmine Body Oil has been magic, it quickly glides on and is a failsafe way to lock in the moisture after showering.

Having switched most face creams for face oils for the past few years, I’m always looking to broaden my horizons with different blends and scents. I lovingly welcomed Kyushi (Japanese for ‘pause’) into my cabinet recently, a brand that prides itself on promoting mindful application as well as aromatherapy and topical use and their range of 4 oils offers support throughout the seasons. I’ve been using their Power of Ten formula which contains oil hemp seed, argan, sea buckthorn, red raspberry and more with my evening Gua Sha routine as it gives my skin some next level replenishment before bedtime.

Meditation has altered for me recently, with me not being quite able to dedicate the full 20 minutes twice a day for my Vedic meditation. However, my Vedic course leaders Will Williams Mediation- aka BEEJA– have launched a new app of the same name which allows me to be more flexible with my mindfulness and be gentle with myself. On the new app, I can choose a variety of meditations such as Loving Kindness, Mending A Broken Heart and Energy Shower of Light guided by founder Will. The app is so accessible for all and there are no special chairs or setups required to join in; for days I’m at home I pop on my Blästa Henriët eye pillow and settle down in Shavasna, or when I’m out and about I just pop my headphones in. It just feels like a modern way to mediate.

I really love to have a clean and tidy bedroom before I sleep to cleanse energy, but to help me truly have sweet dreams I’ve been using Fat & The Moon’s Dream Weaver Mist from Live in the Light. a blend of a distillation of wild mugwort, homemade lavender hydrosol, homemade California Poppy tincture and essential oils of clary sage and sage. Using it as a pillow spray I rest easy in the knowledge that Mugwort has been used to keep evil spirits at bay and cleanses negative energy.

Another method to get a good night’s sleep as we proceed into daylight savings changes is CBD. I’ve been using HuGG’s CBD Oil to get fully to that Parasympathetic state I need before sleep. I find HuGG’s products to be hugely supportive for general wellbeing, and their range also includes unique CBD-infused products such as Bath Salts (which I’ve been blending with my own magnesium flakes for full relaxation support), coffee and tea.

Speaking of bath time, it’s been wonderful to see 100% natural, vegan, cruelty free and sustainable bar soaps with recyclable packaging coming to the mainstream and Little Soap Company is one of my new favourites. What began as a small one-woman business, it now stocked in major UK supermarkets to spread a message of chemical-free beauty choices. Their Peppermint and Eucalyptus has been a favourite pep to my mornings.

As for my hair, I’ve really pared back my routine recently so choosing products that work with my daily life have been faring well, in particularly IGK’s Antisocial Overnight Bond Build Dry Hair Mask. For anyone interested in serious hair repair, it helps to strengthen the hair protein from the inside. The product is ticking so many boxes for me (Vegan, comes in a metal can, hydrating, toxin free and smells divine of course), and I also recently treated myself to a jade comb which feels like a mini massage for the scalp when I put products on my hair. Also travelling neatly into my Italy luggage, but without the need for a liquid allowance was a smart bar of My. Rescue My Hair Shampoo Bar with fava bean, kidney bean, pea and soya for a little scent. The elements tend to guide my hair whilst I’m taking a holiday, so this neat little Vegan shampoo bar was completely in keeping with my fuss-free plans.

Offering me further support for my body during busy periods has obviously been yoga, I’ve had a little time travelling and away from classes so I’ve been back to evening Vinyasa at my local TriYoga. I have also been leaning into Movement for Modern Life for when I can’t get to the studio. This yoga class on-demand channel boasts some of my favourite teachers such as Jonelle Lewis, David Kam and Leila Sadeghee; it’s great to be able to take a quick class of my choice from home, picking length duration and also have the option to choose a class based on mood, benefit and duration.

As a Vata-Kapha type, I have been looking for foods I should be intaking during these months in relation to my dosha and the season, loading my mealtimes with hardy veg such as potatoes, onion, carrots and parsnips. My mum recently gave me a batch of home grown cooking apples which I have turned into a stew with coconut sugar and oil.  I have also been taking Botanycl Skinclear Elixir to aid my skin during the transition period from dry to damp. The pure supplement contains botanicals selected for their unique skin-clearing properties including Coconut Oil Powder, Sunflower Oil Powder, Brown Rice Flour and Rice Extract. Already I can feel really improvement to my skin’s texture. It’s also so refreshing to use vitamins from a glass bottle rather than a plastic one.

Moving through the seasons is always a challenge with the end of the year around the corner, but for me this is the season to fully engage the brakes, slow down and begin to tend to my physical and emotional body.

Note: this article is from an archived version of Higher Self- pre 2021